INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world.” Kirkus (starred review)
An utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin Lee
Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.
Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.
Yangsze Choo's The Night Tiger pulls us into a world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. But anchoring this dazzling, propulsive novel is the intimate coming-of-age of a child and a young woman, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.
"A work of incredible beauty... Astoundingly captivating and striking... A transcendent story of courage and connection." Booklist (starred review)
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)|
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The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo is a beautifully written work of historical fiction that I enjoyed reading it very much. Ji Lin accidentally makes the find of a lifetime which puts events into place that become dangerous for some and deadly for others. Ren, a young boy, is on the hunt for what Ji Lin has found. It was his master’s dying wish to find it. After her accidental find, Ji Lin then desperately tries to set things right with the help of magical dreamscapes as well as friends and family she’s known for years and others that are revealed to her within a magical dreamscape. The book has a beautifully written opening (below) that paints the setting so perfectly and is very well-written. Kamunting, Malaya, May 1931 The old man is dying. Ren can see it in the shallow breaths, the sunken face, and the skin stretched thinly over his cheekbones. Yet he wants the shutters open. Irritable, he beckons the boy over, and Ren, his throat tight as though he’s swallowed a stone, throws open the second-story window. Outside is a brilliant sea of green: the waving tops of jungle trees and a blue sky like a fever dream. The tropical glare makes Ren flinch. He moves to shield his master with his shadow, but the old man stops him with a gesture. Sunlight emphasizes the tremor of his hand with its ugly stump of a missing finger. Ren remembers how just a few months ago that hand could still calm babies and suture wounds. This well-written work of historical fiction has a splash of romance and forbidden love, a soupcon of magic and folklore, a drizzle of death, murder and betrayal, and a ton of interesting and well-developed characters that you’ll wish the best for. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
This novel by Yangsze Choo was beautifully written and included so many things that make a fantastic story; mystery, history, magical realism and romance. There was also ancient Chinese folklore surrounding a tiger and restless spirits, which lead to significant superstition from the community members. The main plot is focused around a severed finger, Dr. McFarlane's, that must be reunited with his body within 49 days of his death so his soul is not cursed to roam and never find peace. This severed finger is exchanged between many hands and we follow it's journey as the other character's lives slowly intertwine. The two main characters, Ji Lin and Ren were well developed and their personalities and emotions came out clearly through the pages. Ji Lin was strong-willed and determined to break societal norms by becoming a doctor in the 1930's where a woman's place was deemed at her husband's side. Although Ji Lin wants to become a doctor, she also finds herself struggling to be loyal to her family and their ideals, thus becoming a dressmaker's apprentice and veering slightly off course. She's feisty, but also swallows her pride on multiple occasions to make her family happy or at least not argumentative. With Ren, Choo explores the master-servant relationship in Colonial British Malaya. Ren also has a "cat-sense" that he uses to communicate with his dead twin, Yi, and potentially others connected to him in ways he has yet to decipher. There are a few secondary characters whose plights truly add to the story and struggles of Ji Lin and Ren and their quests surrounding the severed finger. I really enjoyed the moments Ah Long opened up to Ren as well as the scenes with Ji Lin navigating different suitors or non-suitors. The only thing I didn't like was that the ending felt very rushed. The rest of the novel was well-paced with a balance of action and historical background either surrounding the folklore or the character's lives as well as some romance. But the last 10-20 pages, everything is quickly wrapped up, not necessarily with a big fat bow, but enough that it almost had a fairy-tale ending which didn't seem to go with the rest of the story. I think I would have liked it a bit more if maybe there was more intrigue as to where these character's lives would go in the future. But overall, definitely something I'd recommend.